Put in an unsavory position when Jurgen Klopp opted to bring nearly every healthy player with first team experience to Qatar for the Club World Cup, Liverpool’s kids were lively out of the gate. They showed their understandable immaturity on the stage in lacking the final ball over the first dozen minutes.
That’s when Villa took a bit of control and Hourihane spun his free kick into the goal, Jonathan Kodjia leaping to kick but missing a redirection bid to throw off keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Henri Lansbury prodded an own goal for 2-0 when his cross was deflected to fool Kelleher, who clawed backward but couldn’t find the ball before it looped into the side netting.
Harvey Elliott showed his style with a delightful little chipped pass that Curtis Jones used to force a save out of Orjan Nyland. Elliott was very good on the day, with 90 percent passing and a shot on target. Captain for the day Pedro Chirivella also made a good impression.
It was 3-0 when Kodjia blazed past the Liverpool back line to slide a pass beyond the reach of a splayed Kelleher. The Ivorian added a goal before halftime.
That first 45 saw shots on target in favor of Liverpool by just 4-3. Problem is all of the on-target Villa attempts plus the o.g. went in the Reds goal.
Kelleher made a great save on Kodjia’s 60th minute hat trick bid.
Liverpool’s senior squad is on the road at the Club World Cup, so they have a squad of youth players set to take on Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.
Jurgen Klopp spoke at length over the past few months about how the scheduling bulge through this month has left the squad pulled in two directions, and it has indeed forced them to split into two groups. With Klopp and the senior players in Qatar, with their Club World Cup semifinal against Monterrey set for tomorrow, there was no choice but to leave the youth team to play in the domestic Cup competition.
Harvey Elliott is the most prominent name in the Reds’ squad, while U-23 boss Neil Critchley takes charge of the side. Recent PEC Zwolle arrival Sepp van den Berg starts at center-back alongside Morgan Boyes, while 22-year-old midfielder Pedro Chirivella captains the side.
On the other side, Aston Villa must navigate the potential banana peel, with elimination at the hands of the Reds’ young, inexperienced squad a potentially embarrassing possibility. Manager Dean Smith has made a significant amount of changes to his main squad, with Jack Grealish left on the bench alongside striker Wesley and midfield engine John McGinn. Defender James Chester, making his first appearance for the club this season, earns the captain’s armband, while striker Jonathan Kodija grabs his first start of the campaign.
Liverpool have been fined $246,000 for fielding an ineligible player in the League Cup third round clash at MK Dons last week.
Half of that fine will be suspended until the end of next season, say the English Football League.
Jurgen Klopp brought Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella, 22, off the bench in the 2-0 win at MK Dons, but he did not have international clearance to play after returning from a loan spell at Extremadura in 2018-19.
Chirivella had not played for Liverpool for over three years before coming on against MK Dons, and Liverpool had previously admitted a potential administrative error over his international transfer certificate (ITC).
There were fears that Liverpool may be kicked out of the competition but they will now face Arsenal in the last 16 at Anfield on Oct. 29.
Klopp used his subs on youngsters Sepp van de Berg (17) and Herbie Kane (20) — we swear that’s his name — and little used Pedro Chirivella. And four other youngsters were unused subs.
Many online joked that Klopp would’ve been happy to lose the match and bow out of the competition. The manager is pretty pleased with the improvement, and hinted that his lineup would look similar in the next round versus Arsenal. From The Liverpool Echo:
“At 16 years old still and he is this kind of footballer. That is really good for us. He is a brilliant boy, he takes the situation really well and wants to learn. He will always be a special player for moments, but you see overall with his defending and movements, it is not easy so that is really good. … He was a bit unlucky otherwise he would have scored. They are all good, they are all really skilled but that’s why it is important to give them games like this. We will try to continue like this, so we will see.”